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Paint or Stain Fence - What's the difference?

Nov 07, 2023 - 3 min read
Paint or Stain Fence - What's the difference?

 Are you are looking to freshen up an old and tired looking fence? Or do you simply want to change the colour of a newly installed one? Either way, both paint and stain put up a good case for consideration.

But what is the difference between painting and staining? Which option is best for you and your fence? And what about cost discrepancies?

Well, we explore these questions right here. We answer your paint and stain related queries below.


What is the difference between painting and staining my fence?


Paint sits on the surface of the fence, covering the timber. This offers a complete, more dramatic transformation to your fence.

However, paint will wear out over time, and this can look distasteful if not re-painted. To avoid the appearance of peeling and cracking, it’s advised to repaint your fence every 1-3 years, or when any imperfections begin to appear.

Paint also restricts the ability of the timber to breathe. This can increase moisture content, which results in potential problems with rotting.

Keep in mind that once you do need to repaint, you will need to scrape off all the existing paint, prepare the surface, and then repaint it.


fence paint


Unlike paint, stain is soaked into the fence for a deeper treatment which lasts longer. This avoids any issues with peeling or cracking and requires much less preparation than paint – a good power-wash with a cleaner will be sufficient before re-staining.

Stain comes in various types. From almost transparent, to a ‘solid’ finish and anything in between. As a rule of thumb, the more solid in colour a stain is the more protection you get, but the less of the wood you see. For instance, a semi-transparent stain will offer the protection you need, while keeping the beauty of natural timber visible.

 Fence stain

Is it cheaper to paint or stain a fence?

Put simply, paint is less expensive to purchase than stain. However, it requires more to cover a fence and doesn’t last as long either.

So, when you think about the additional times paint will need to be applied versus stain, the costs even out. There is no clear-cut winner when it comes to pricing.


To conclude: Should you paint or stain a fence?

It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve really. If you want a more dramatic change in the look of your fence, and do not mind a more frequent maintenance regime, then go for paint.

If you prefer less maintenance, and/or prefer a more natural looking fence, stain is your best bet.


Enhance your fence with fencing supplies

While both painting and staining are great ways to protect and update the look of your fence, there are many other ways to do so. With an extensive range of fencing supplies from FenceMate®, GateMate® and DuraPost®, you can ensure a longer lasting and greater-looking fence for the future.

Why not view our range of fencing supplies, or contact our expert team today with any fencing related questions.

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